WEST 2009

These are some photos from my round-the-world trip, which I took from September to November 2009. The trip was mainly about visiting friends, finishing off my previous visit to Italy, and going overland from Morocco to the UK.

I'm calling the trip my World Economic Stimulus Tour (WEST) of 2009. It was also an opportunity to see how the global financial crisis has affected the world on the ground. Australia survived the crisis very well. Companies folded and people lost their jobs, but on the ground restaurants were full and shopping centers looked busy. The news reports were promoting fear, but looking around one could be forgiven for thinking there was no crisis. Was it like this in other countries? This was my chance to find out. Governments around the world were pouring money into the system. Here was my chance to do my part--even if it only stimulated a few hotels and restaurants along the way!

Trip overview

As you can imagine, a lot of photos were taken on a seven week trip. Start with some overview photos of the trip.

There are many more photos in the detailed albums below. There are thirty albums. If that is too much, I'd recommend starting with Yosemite National Park, Marrakesh, and Granada.

Trip details

The trip started with a weekend in Auckland, New Zealand, where I caught up with an old friend from primary school. I mainly stayed around Auckland and visited the Auckland Skytower.

Then I spent a week in the San Francisco bay area. I drove to Yosemite National Park and spent a few days there. I took some local friends on a technology tour of Silicon Valley and up to the Lick Observatory. In the past, I visited the Bay Area for work, so on this trip I got some time to go sightseeing and visited some of the museums in the area: such as the Hiller Aviation Museum and the Computer History Museum.

I then took an overnight flight to New York, arriving there early in the morning. I was transiting through New York so I had less than 24 hours there, but that was enough to visit Wall Street and the 5th Avenue Apple Store, and have dinner with friends. That evening I continued on to Milan.

In Italy, I caught up with a colleague and we went on a Star Wars tour of Lake Como. We also visited Turin, Parma and Milan. Turin was the setting for the opening scene in The Bourne Ultimatum. I also also spent some time visiting some of the science and technology sights in Pavia. I assume by now you realise by now that this is also a technology tour!

Then it was a week in the UK relaxing with old friends. A week that involved taking an Apple eMac computer apart, soldering new capacitors into it, and putting it back together... a long story.

The challenge I set myself for this trip was to fly into Morocco and travel back to the UK overland. So with a one-way ticket and only my first night's hotel booked, I flew to Marrakesh. After two nights in Marrakesh, I took a local bus to Erfoud and the Saharian sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. After the desert experience, I took another local bus to Tangiers. I didn't spend much time in Tangiers, but I did see where they filmed some more scenes from the The Bourne Ultimatium.

From Tangiers, I took a ferry across the strait to Gibraltar.

Then I spent some time in southern Spain: Granada and the famous Alhambra, Cordoba and its famous mosque, and Seville. Seville was another Star Wars filming location. An overnight train then took me to Barcelona.

Another overnight train brought me to Paris. Here I visited the famous and historical Palace of Versilles, the ephemeral Windows Cafe and other sights around Paris.

The overland journey finished with another highlight: a Eurostar train journey through the Chunnel back to the UK. Continuing The Bourne Ultimatium theme, I visited Waterloo station in London.

I then spent a week driving around the UK. I visited the RAF Radar Museum in Norfolk, and The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes. I also spent a short time in Oxford before visiting the industrial revolution historic places of Ironbridge and North-west UK. Then it was back to the London for a few days.

The last stop was Hong Kong. I took a day trip to Macau and a ride on the cable car to Ngong Ping.